Building permit (commercial and multi-family home)

You need a commercial building permit for any new building, addition, change of use, or alteration other than a single family house.

When you need a building permit

You need to apply for a building permit if you want to:

  • alter an existing building
  • change the use of an existing commercial or industrial space
  • construct a building
  • demolish a building
  • make structural alterations or repairs

When you do not need a building permit

You do not need a building permit if you want to:

  • do routine, non-structural maintenance
  • replace plumbing fixtures, cabinets or flooring

If your property is within a development permit area, you will also be required to apply for a development permit. In most cases, you apply for the development permit before you apply for your building permit. See if you are in a development permit area.

Before you apply

There are a few potential requirements you should understand before you prepare your application, as they can impact your overall project budget.

Potential upgrade requirements

A number of District bylaws require building upgrades that could impact your project budget, including:

To determine whether upgrade requirements apply to your project, contact

Permit fees

When you apply for your permit, you are required to pay a 50% non-refundable estimated permit fee. All remaining fees are payable when your permit is issued. A service clerk will contact you with your outstanding fees and securities prior to issuing your permit.

Application process

1. Determine your project type

Understanding which of the following categories your project falls under will help you understand the specific requirements you need to satisfy to get your building permit. 

  • Minor alteration – projects with an estimated construction value less than $150,000
  • Major alteration – projects with an estimated construction value more than $150,000
  • New construction

2. Prepare your permit submission plan

For major and minor alterations, get detailed submission requirements in the Commercial Tenant Improvement Handout.

For new construction, get detailed submission requirements in the New Construction Checklist.

Once you have reviewed the requirements, complete the building permit application form and soil permit application form.

3. Hire an architect (if applicable)

You need an architect for projects that require architectural services under the Architect's Act, including mezzanine additions.

You don’t need an architect for projects that are only mechanical, electrical or structural. 

4. Arrange permit application submission

Once you have a complete commercial building permit application assembled, contact to arrange submission.

After you apply

Pay 50% of your fees

We'll email you an invoice to pay the application portion of the building permit fee (50% of the total building permit fee) once we receive your complete building permit application.

The application review process will begin upon receiving your fee payment. This involves staff from multiple departments who make sure you meet the bylaw, development permit, development covenant, and building code requirements. They will also:

  • calculate fees, charges and securities you need to pay before getting the permit
  • work with you on the required legal agreements
  • prepare servicing agreements if your work is on District property

When we’re ready to issue the permit

You’ll need to pay the remaining balance of the building permit fee, securities, and any other required fees or charges.

For complex projects, we’ll hold a pre-construction meeting to go over preconditions to commencing civil work, and the following requirements for the construction phase:

  • Compliance monitoring
  • Inspections
  • Construction traffic management
  • Noise Bylaw
  • Construction fire safety

For alterations to buildings constructed before 1990, you must obtain a hazmat clearance certificate from WorkSafeBC before booking any inspections.

Additional resources

How-to guides

List of individual requirements

MRL # Document title
GEN 101 Authorization to Represent Owner
GEN 102 Title Search
GEN 103 BP Application Pending Subdivision Approval
GEN 105 Licence to Occupy District Land
GEN 106 Design Guidelines Reviewed by Consultant
GEN 107 Heritage Approval (pending)
GEN 108 Pre-application Meeting
GEN 110 Single Family New Construction Required Inspection Stages
GEN 111 Confirmation of Required Documents
GEN 115 Homeowner Permit Declaration
GEN 117 Storm Water Management Pump Covenant
SPE 102 HPO Registration Form - Detached Dwelling Unit
SPE 103 Fire Limits Area - Sprinklers
SPE 104 Sloping Sites (Greater than 10 DEG)
SPE 105 Sloping Sites (Greater than 20 DEG)
SPE 106 Flood Hazard Report
SPE 107 Creek Hazard Report
SPE 108 Alternate Sewage Disposal System
SPE 111 Water Licence Rental (Potabel Water) - MOE
SPE 113 SPE 113 Blasting Permits
SPE 114 Conceptual Storm Water Management Plan
SPE 115 Wildfire Hazard Report
BLD 101 Letter of Assurance
BLD 103 Survey - Simple
BLD 104 Survey - Moderate
BLD 105 Survey - Complex
BLD 106 Site Plan - Simple
BLD 107 Site Plan - Moderate
BLD 108 Site Plan - Complex
BLD 109 Preliminary Drainage Plan
BLD 110 Foundation Plan
BLD 111 Floor Plans 
BLD 112 Elevations - Simple
BLD 113 Elevations - Moderate / Complex
BLD 114 Building Cross-section
BLD 119 Outdoor Pool and Hot Tub Regulations
BLD 120 Confirmation of Professional Liability Insurance
ELE 103 Installation Requirements for Electrical Vehicle
ELE 104 Electrical Load Calculation for Commercial Tenant Improvement
ENG 101 Municipal Service Connections
ENG 102 Driveway Requirements - Slope Less Than 10 DEG
ENG 103 Driveway Requirements - Slope 10 DEG to 20 DEG
ENG 104 Driveway Requirements Slope Greater Than 20 DEG
ENG 106 Re-use of Existing Sanitary Sewer Connections
ENG 108 District Energy Ready Technical Requirements 
ENV 105 Tree Location Sketch Plan - Simple
ENV 106 Arborist Report
ENV 107 Tree Retention or Restitution Plan - Simple
ENV 108 Tree Retention or Restitution Plan - Moderate
ENV 108A Tree Retention Plan - Complex
ENV 109 Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report
ENV 110 Hydrologist or Hydro-Geologist Report 
ENV 112 Section 219 Covenant - Environmental Protection 
ENV 113 Outside Agency Approval - Enviro Review Comm (ERC)
ENV 115 Outside Agency Approval - Dept of Fisheries & Oceans
ENV 116 Outside Agency Approval - Ports of Vancouver
ENV 117 Soil Permit - DNV
ENV 118 Tree Permit - DNV
ENV 119 Aquatic Area Permit - DNV
MEC 101 Solar Hot Water Heating
MEC 102 Mechanical Requirements for New Heating System
MEC 103 Mechanical Requirements for Forced Air Furnance Retrofit
MEC 104 Mechanical Permit Test Certificate 'A'
MEC 105 Mechanical Permit Test Certificate 'B'
SPR 101 Sprinklers and Fire Alarms in Residential Buildings